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Exclusive Interview with the makers of Darkest Fear

Story added: 12 Jun 2006 21:08. Last updated: 12 Jun 2006 21:09.

Rovio have some great titles in their catalogue including the Darkest Fear trilogy and the War Diary Series. After playing their latest offering, Wolf Moon, we just wanted to know what made these guys tick...

Renowned for their in-depth games, we put the questions to Rovio's Ville Vuorela, Senior Game Designer, and Lauri Konttori, Game Designer.

MGF: We just finished playing Wolf Moon. It was a great game but can you tell us what sets it apart from your other titles like the Darkest Fear and War Diary series?

Ville: Entirely different plotline, setting, characters, viewpoint, user interface... basically all the ways two games can differ from each other. It is also a stand-alone horror adventure and not part of a franchise like DF or War Diary.

MGF: You usually go for an overhead view in most of your games. Can you tell us why you went for a first person view in the game?

Ville: The scale and scope of the game was different. We wanted a graphical user interface that could really convey the sensation of player being in the howling wilderness himself to the extent it could be done on mobile. But I never dreamed of how beautiful some of the landscapes would turn out. The artists did a superb job.

MGF: Looks like a pay rise for someone then :) Can you give us a brief explanation as to what the Rovio ethic is about creating a mobile game?

Ville: First principle is the rule of the three B's. "If it does not Burn, Bleed or Blow Up, it is not a Rovio game". Second principle is quality focus. There has to be something that has never been done in mobile before and it must be done right the first time. Third principle is immersion: characters, stories with depth and colourful settings. We want the player to remember his Rovio experience for a long time to come.

MGF: All your games seem to have interesting plots. How hard are these to come up with and how important do you think these are to gaming in general? I think there may be a horror fan amongst the team :)

Ville: I'd be lying if I said it was easy but we put a lot of effort into it. Having that kind of original content is what really sets us apart from the competition and helps us to build mobile game brands that users actually recognize. As for gaming in general, customers and developers alike whine about the lack of content or ideas in modern games. Maybe interesting plots would be a solution here?

MGF: All your games seem pretty in depth but there seems to be an industry shift towards casual gaming, are you planning on going down this road?

Ville: Over my dead body. We'd be giving up the very thing that makes us unique.

MGF: Most Rovio titles use sound to enhance the game playing experience. This is an area often overlooked by developers so what made you choose to give it such prominence?

Ville: We had the right people in the right place at the right time, so when problems with sound effects in low performance handsets forced us to choose music, we could go all the way. Most people play mobile games with sound turned off but those who do listen to our games will definitely have an enhanced play experience.

MGF: With the market being so large in the Far East, what are Rovio doing to try and increase the awareness of the market over here in the West and what do you think the mobile market has to offer the average consumer?

Ville: Far East markets are locked down by their local developers. Much bigger companies than us have been sent back to the West with their tail between their legs. Cultural differences should not be underestimated either and our games so far have been rooted in Western mythology or popular culture. I don't believe in global appeal: something for everybody equals nothing for no one. We are not giving up our existing core markets for a shot in the dark.

MGF: I'm sure our readers would like to know a little bit more about the game development process. How long does it usually take to develop your games from start to finish?

Ville: Depends on what counts as a start. But the production phase usually lasts about three months.

MGF: Rovio is renowned for having multiple endings in games. What made you initially decide to do this in many of your games?

Ville: It is a rare feature in mobile games, it adds to game longevity and in best cases is technologically very cheap. Initially it was just an experiment but the players liked it so now we try to include it whenever we can.

MGF: Do you have any plans to have any online content or make any of your games Bluetooth? Is this an area that you think will become the standard as we progress?

Ville: We have plans for online game content but I am not going to say anything more about that.

MGF: Ooh, the intrigue... Do you have a specific audience/gender in mind and has the recent results concerning the rise in female gamers affected your outlook on your future games.

Ville: Short answer is yes. Long answer is that I don't believe gender differences in gaming to be as marked as some people would or let us believe. It is just that the social taboo of being a female gamer is finally breaking up and it is about time too!

MGF: Can you tell us a little bit more about any other titles you have coming out soon? I??m especially keen to hear about Darkest Fear 3!

Lauri: I probably shouldn??t tell you but I hope you can keep a secret:) We wanted to make every part of the Darkest Fear trilogy different to maintain player interest. Part three has tons of new features but most important is having both Thomas and Helen as controllable characters. Helen obviously cannot go anywhere near light. This takes the light puzzles to a whole new level. I could go on for hours about all the new innovations by the DF team but you should really play the game instead.

MGF: Do you think there should be a film based around Darkest Fear as there was Resident Evil? And if so, who would play the lead?

Lauri: I think the world of Thomas Warden would make a very interesting movie. But who should play the lead? Maybe Johnny Depp.

MGF: Thank you very much for your time, readers can see why we like Rovio so much here. Scroll down for a little sneaky screenshot of Darkest Fear 3

Reporting by Costas Stephanides (Editor)

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